The first T20I between New Zealand and England will be played at Hagley Oval, in Christchurch. The two teams have met each other 16 times in the shortest format of the game. England have the upper hand here having won 10 of these encounters to New Zealand’s 5 while one match was abandoned. In the last five T20Is as well, the narrative remains the same with England leading three games to two.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
This will be the first T20I at Hagley Oval. The results in domestic T20s show that the surface here has something in it for both batsmen and bowlers. The average first innings score since the start of 2018 here is 150 with the average run-rate being 7.6. Just earlier this year in a Super Smash fixture, Northern Knights had chased down Canterbury’s 193/5 with relative ease.
Hagley Oval is one of the bigger grounds in New Zealand with an approximate 84 m straight and 77 m square boundary. The batsmen might need to work that much extra hard to clear the ropes.
The surface at the Hagley oval has assisted both batsmen and bowlers in equal measure. So a combination of six frontline batsmen, one all-rounder, one spinner and three pacers might be the way to go.
On the bowling front, pacers have been the more effective breed. Since January 2018, fast bowlers have returned 56 wickets in seven games here striking every 15.3 balls. The spinners, on the other hand have picked up 25 wickets in the same period striking every 27.2 balls.
Amongst the pacers, right arm pacers have the best record. They have picked up 44 wickets in T20s since the start of 2018 at strike rate of 14.2 Left-arm pacers are second on the list with 12 wickets in seven outings striking every 19.3 balls. Both New Zealand and England have no shortage of pacers on their side. Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee should ideally be a certainty in your side while the likes of Chris Jordan and Saqib Mahmood could also get a look-in.
Jonny Bairstow might not have had the best of Ashes but there is little doubt that he is a prolific white-ball batsman. He is England’s leading run-scorer this year in T20Is with 117 runs in three outings at an average of 39 and strike-rate of 148.1. He had a terrific IPL as well this year where he was the lynchpin of Hyderabad’s batting. Bairstow is coming into the game in decent form too having scored an unbeaten 78 in the first warm-up game against a New Zealand XI side.
One of only three batsmen to have three or more T20I centuries, Colin Munro’s lack of consistency has often gone against him.However, there is no denying that he is a beast in the shortest format of the game. On his day, he can tear apart any bowling attack as the England XI side found out in the second warm-up game on Tuesday where he smashed an unbeaten 57-ball 107 to take his side to a comfortable win. He had a decent CPL too where he scored 231 runs in nine outings at average of 33. He can be the key batsman up in the order for your side.
Eoin Morgan was in fantastic form at the Natwest T20 Blast where he smashed 341 runs in just nine games, striking at 168.81. He has worked up quite a bit of form this year especially in T20 format having scored 417 runs in 13 T20 games at an average of 41.7. Morgan’s record against New Zealand is also pretty decent and he will undoubtedly be one of the key batsman for his side.
Jimmy Neesham got a leash of life to his stuttering career this year and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. His all-round package is what makes him a crowd favourite. He is a handy lower-order striker, can bowl his full quota of overs and is a gun fielder. He had a good time at the CPL too especially with the ball where he returned 11 wickets in 10 outings. His numbers might not always look attractive, but Neesham is one player who can change the course of a match in a matter of a few overs with both bat and ball.
The weather is expected to remain largely dry with the temperature hovering around the 17-degree mark providing optimum conditions for a game of cricket.
Suggested FanFight team
Jonny Bairstow (c), Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Eoin Morgan, James Neesham, Sam Billings (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Brown